Jerome Robbins: That Broadway Man, That Ballet Man. (Dancing Around The Real Robbins).Jerome Robbins Noun 1. Jerome Robbins - United States choreographer who brought human emotion to classical ballet and spirited reality to Broadway musicals (1918-1998)
Robbins : That Broadway Man, That Ballet Man By Christine Conrad. London: Booth-Clibborn Editions. 2000. 303 pages. $49.95. ISBN ISBN
International Standard Book Number
ISBN International Standard Book Number
ISBN n abbr (= International Standard Book Number) → ISBN m : 1861541732.
NO AMERICAN CHOREOGRAPHER, not even Isadora Duncan, has had the instant postmortem postmortem /post·mor·tem/ (post-mort´im) performed or occurring after death.
Relating to or occurring during the period after death.
See autopsy. attention accorded Jerome Robbins. It is only three years since his death, and already two biographies have been devoted to him. Two additional ones are waiting in the wings. They probably will strike closer to the truth.
Neither Christine Conrad nor Greg Lawrence is a dance specialist, although both are experienced writers. Conrad has the distinction of having been one of Robbins's amours. She lived with him briefly, and their friendship spanned some thirty years. Her view of her subject is not only kind, but sweet-natured.
Her assignment from the publisher must have been to do a coffee-table book--one of those tomes that, if it had legs, would be a table. The pictures are entertaining and often revealing as they trace Robbins's childhood in Weehawken, New Jersey Weehawken is a township in Hudson County, New Jersey, United States. As of the United States 2000 Census, the township population was 13,501.
Weehawken was formed as a township by an Act of the New Jersey Legislature on March 15, 1859, from portions of Hoboken and North ; his early performing days at Camp Tamiment in the Poconos; and his burgeoning career on Broadway, in American Ballet Theatre American Ballet Theatre, one of the foremost international dance companies of the 20th cent. It was founded in 1937 as the Mordkin Ballet and reorganized as the Ballet Theatre in 1940 under the direction of Lucia Chase and Rich Pleasant. (then Ballet Theatre), and in New York City Ballet New York City Ballet, one of the foremost American dance companies of the 20th cent. It was founded by Lincoln Kirstein and George Balanchine as the Ballet Society in 1946. .
But many, far too many, of the photographs are double-page spreads that sink helplessly into the gutter--so that a line of eight women in Antique Epigraphs looks like seven and one-half, and Tanaquil Le Clercq in Age of Anxiety has an eye but no chin and mouth. In fact, I'm not sure it's Le Clercq. The legs look heavier than I remember. Many of the captions are printed on backgrounds whose deep colors (e.g. black on gunmetal gunmetal, a bronze, an alloy of copper, tin, and a small amount of zinc. Although originally used extensively for making guns (from which it received its name), it has been superseded by steel, and it is now chiefly employed in casting machine parts. ) make them unintelligible UNINTELLIGIBLE. That which cannot be understood.
2. When a law, a contract, or will, is unintelligible, it has no effect whatever. Vide Construction, and the authorities there referred to. , or they are in frustratingly small type. Instead of being expressive, these devices set up a competition between layout and content. The book's intended drama becomes misplaced mis·place
tr.v. mis·placed, mis·plac·ing, mis·plac·es
a. To put into a wrong place: misplace punctuation in a sentence.
For a different reason, the drama is also misplaced in Greg Lawrence's hefty volume. Lawrence was at one time married to Gelsey Kirkland Gelsey Kirkland (born December 29 1952, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania) is an American ballet dancer.
She was reportedly inspired to dance by watching a performance of Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev. . They shared authorship of Dancing on My Grave, The Shape of Love, and The Little Ballerina and her Dancing Horse. Undoubtedly, the publishers expected Dance With Demons Demons
See also devil; evil; ghosts; hell; spirits and spiritualism.
one who denies the existence of the devil or demons.
recognition of the existence of demons and goblins. to be another Dancing on My Grave: a tell-all with peccadilloes soaring beyond any creative accomplishments.
How unfortunate this editorial decision becomes as Lawrence patiently interviews his way through Robbins's psychological conflicts. Instead of presenting him clearly in his dual role as Broadway innovator and ballet experimenter, the book emphasizes, with endless examples, his sexual ambivalence; his guilt over the damaging testimony he proffered in 1953 to the House Un-American Activities Committee House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), a committee (1938–75) of the U.S. House of Representatives, created to investigate disloyalty and subversive organizations. Its first chairman, Martin Dies, set the pattern for its anti-Communist investigations. ; his long-playing hostility toward his father, Harry Rabinowitz; and his sadistic sa·dism
1. The deriving of sexual gratification or the tendency to derive sexual gratification from inflicting pain or emotional abuse on others.
2. The deriving of pleasure, or the tendency to derive pleasure, from cruelty. behavior toward too many of his dancers.
Like Nora Kaye Nora Kaye (January 17 1920 - February 28 1987) was an American ballerina, who was also called the Duse of Dance (after acclaimed actress Eleonora Duse. Kaye was born Nora Koreff , his good friend and fora-time fiancee, and like many other young American artists of his era (he was born in New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of in 1918), Robbins came of Russian immigrant parents who quickly made a decent living in this country and who saw to it that their children had artistic training along with their regular schooling.
Following in his sister Sonia's footsteps, he developed a passion for dance. Because very few fathers, even in America today, approve of dance as a life's work for their sons, the reason for the hostility between father and son is clear, especially since the son was homosexual, or at least bisexual.
The turning point of Robbins's early years was the founding of Ballet Theatre in 1940. There was challenge in performing for a wide variety of choreographers, and in 1944 he came forth with his own ballet, that gem of Americana called Fancy Free. This enchanting vignette of sailors on shore leave led to his first Broadway choreography, On the Town, and opened the door to his brilliant dual career. New York City Ballet opened the door even wider in 1949.
While his ballet output was far more prolific than his Broadway choreography, it's probable that he is better known for the latter. His finest Broadway works are undoubtedly West Side Story and Fiddler on the Roof The choice is more difficult in ballet because the range is far wider. But Fancy Free remains eternally fresh, and his Chopin trilogy (Dances at a Gathering, In the Night, and Other Dances) is a model of contemporary romanticism.
NEITHER CONRAD NOR LAWRENCE has, to any appreciable degree, penetrated Robbins's numerous works. Lawrence, who makes a more consistent effort to do so, ends up quoting the New York Times critics, particularly John Martin. One rarely finds out what Lawrence himself thinks of a given work, nor does he build specific imagery of his own.
The clearest impressions of Robbins's ballets come from the dancers who worked in them. For example, here's Natalia Makarova's view of Other Dances: "... The body seems to be wearing a shawl of Velenciennes lace, the choreographic design is the fabric of the lace, and the space between the threads is filled with the pauses, the hesitations, the subtle nuances, that fine understatement of movement that for me is the most precious feature of the romantic--and, for that matter, of any--ballet.... [Al]though Jerry's ballets do not have traditional plots, they always have something reminiscent of one...."
Of the same ballet, Mikhail Baryshnikov commented, "He would show me one of those combinations that are so his, and so beautiful--the twists of the shoulder, the open, relaxed steps gradually changing into smaller, more delicate movements."
The atmosphere in which this magic was created often had its negative aspects. As John Clifford put it, "He was tragic because his great talent was offset by his insecurity, which manifested itself in sheer tyranny.... You couldn't breathe in Jerry's ballets.... "
And Violette Verdy, with her impeccably French ability to analyze, pinpointed his relationship with Balanchine: "... The only man that could represent anything important was George Balanchine. And the serenity that Balanchine had about his own perfection was extraordinary to witness for Jerry, who had the other kind of perfection, which is the relentless drive without ever thinking that perfection has been attained. ... Balanchine was beyond greed and effort. And Jerry wanted to be with Balanchine because he thought if there was anybody greater than him, Balanchine was the only one. And Balanchine also represented something that he had not yet achieved, which is the calm and the serenity, because Balanchine was unpossessive, and Jerry was possessive...."
I don't know Don't know (DK, DKed)
"Don't know the trade." A Street expression used whenever one party lacks knowledge of a trade or receives conflicting instructions from the other party. whether it was Greg Lawrence, his editor, or his publisher who decided on the book's flyleaf fly·leaf
A blank or specially printed leaf at the beginning or end of a book.
pl -leaves the inner leaf of the endpaper of a book
Noun 1. quote by dancer Mel Tomlinson: "If I go to hell, I will not be afraid of the devil. Because I have worked with Jerome Robbins."
There's not much one can add to that remark. And yet it seems strangely enigmatic, as does Dance With Demons. The book is conscientiously laden with quotations, more than generous with interviews. But I had a hard time finding Jerome Robbins, an even harder time finding the spine of his choreography. That he was mean to his dancers does little more than leave the artist and his choreography in limbo. It's a limbo that still remains to be fully penetrated.
Senior editor Doris Hering has been writing and reviewing for Dance Magazine since 1946.